hot  /  reviews  /  video  /  blogs  /  forum

FRESH MEAT  
|   FROM OUR COMMUNITY BLOGS

TheKodu's blog


6:45 PM on 06.13.2015

Critical Floor: Mad Max Fury Road

Well it's the weekend so I figured you'd want something quite light and entertaining instead of some of my more heavy pieces. Hopefully you'll indulge me one again as I splurge about Mad Max Fury Road. Havng got the obligatory discussion of the feminist symbolism and ideas out the way previously I can actually attempt to talk about some of the aspects of the film.

Now these are my views and ideas and the evidence I believe supports them and as will all pieces of media it's my interpretation of aspects of the film and themes of it. Basically what I'm saying may be in truth way off the mark bullshit or absolutely spot on about parts of the film.

So let's start with the society of the Warboys tribe and some of the incredibly messed up stuff there which the film only hints at. So let's get the super messed up thing out the way first. The Warboys as a tribe are infact all the sons of Immoten Joe. We know from earlier in the film Immoten "Warfather" Joe has a large harem of "wives". We also know because of discussions between characters that Joe was trying to get an heir to take over the tribe that didn't suffer from genetic problms. The film shows both his main sons each with their own genetic afflictions however we also know the Warboys suffer a shared genetic affliction too, this explains the need for Mad Max as a Bloodbag to help top up the Warboys. The idea that all the Warboys share an affliction is compounded when one of the brides mentions that the warboys don't live a life they live a half life. The whole idea of the tribe is one of seeing approval from the father figure literally calling him "Warfather" and as such doing acts to try and impress or gain his approval (and get to Valhalla). If we take this theme as right it would also mean the entire subplot involving one of the warboys takes on a far different meaning as it shows him learning to break free from the need for his fathers constant approval of his actions.

 

Ok so the idea of valhalla previously mentioned nicely transitions into talking about the Aestehtic of the warboys, their society and how their society shows humanity still trying to cling to the last bits of a long gone past age. You see the Warboys "religion" for lack of a better word is that by dying doing an act of bravery (or suicidal stupidity to give term) which benefits the rest of the tribe they will go to Valhalla the Norse heaven as such.  Generally before doing such an act they call for someone to witness them (to help spread their tale) and they spray their mouth and teeth with chrome spray paint. Obviously spraying your mouth and teeth with chrome spray paint is not part of Norse mythology yet with the Warboys part of the Valhalla idea is it's the heaven linked to chrome. This makes little sense until you look deeper at some of the vehicles they drive and parts of their fleet. It also explains perfectly why part of their army is a guy with a guitar that shoots fire who play them into battle.

 

 

The Warboys idea of Valhalla is taken directly from the hazy memories of Rock and Roll and heavy metal music. No really have a look at some of these Rock and Metal album covers.

 

 

Yes that car n the ZZ top cover does look remarkably live the kind of Hot Rod's seen in amongst the Warboys vehicles. 

So I know what you're thinking, it's bonkers right, I mean people creating confused interpretations of things in the past. It sounds insane, until you realise the film actually told you people are messing up idea of the past already. At one point two of the other characters, one of the "wives" and one of the elder women, are talking while looking up at the nights sky, the younger woman spots a shooting star and the older says it must be a satellite. The older woman then goes on to explain that satellites were from the worlds past and would bounce messages all round the world. A second older woman then interjects and says not messages they bounced shows round the world and everyone used to have a show. This scene illustrates how ideas and concepts we take for granted now could be interpreted far differently as the knoweldge of them fades away. We know that Satelites both bounce messages and shows around but we know that messages are not shows. The idea of everyone having their own show could easily be referring to none other than things like youtube. incase you're not entirely convinced Historians have found evidence of such things happening in the past as the goddess Neith suddenly became the goddess of Weaving along with her other roles. Historians theorised that people just started to accept that what she was despite no indications of it prior to a certain point.  So it's entirely plausible to suggest that the Warboys society and even almost religion is based round half remembered Heavy Metal & Rock Album covers which would explain the combination of chrome and Valhalla as both are regular features of Rock and Metal Album covers.

  read


9:03 PM on 06.10.2015

The Pre-E3 predictions blog

So E3 is coming up soon, it's a tradition seemingly in the gaming press to make predictions about what we're going to see at E3. Now it's one of my long standing traditions here in the C-Blogs to make really stupid predictions deliberately so and try to justify them. So yeh, I feel like doing a stupid E3 blog.

 Prediction 1. Anita Sarkeesian will not be happy

Ok this is an obvious one especially after last year but it's almost certain it will happen again this year. It's not a hard prediction to make but I wanted to make at least one that had a chance of coming true.

 

Prediction 2. Fallout 4 isn't the full title of the game, the Bethesda announcement will be that it's fallout 4 generations. Part of the gameplay will mean you can settle down and have a family and pass on the mantle of the lone wanderer to the next generation.

My "evidence" to support this prediction is the style of the trailer for Fallout showing a family laying down their child to sleep as the radio then announces the bombs are coming. It seemed a strange shot to have and being in engine it would seem weird for the baby model and animations to be assets just for a small part of the game.

 Prediction 3: one of Microsoft's Indie games shown off will be a side scrolling beat-em up called Raging Justice.

Evidence: Having spoken to the developer a while ago now and done a bit of a preview piece on the game. Well it's due out sometime soon so it would make sense for Microsoft to show it off with other indie games. Then again this is Microsoft so who knows if they'll manage to do something that sensible.

 Prediction 4: Reggie Fils-Aimé will end up on the Nintendo Direct dressed in an ill fitting Link costume. This will then spark claims on Polygon and Kotaku that Nintendo are Racist because they haven't made link black yet

Evidence: Well um, We haven't heard that much about the new Legend of Zelda on Wii U yet and Reggie is a legend.

 Prediction 5: Valve aren't going to appear at the PC gaming conference because they'll appear at the Sony conference.

Evidence: Well Valve are not scheduled to be at the PC Gamer organised conference which means either A Valve object to PC Gamer (possible)

 Or B Valve are already set to appear at E3 doing something else.

It sounds bonkers but with all that's been rolled out recently and Valve having previously released Portal 2 as crossplay on PS4 it's possible there may be more titles coming or even Valve allowing crossplay to be added to existing games. 

 Prediction 6: Kotaku will write shit about how terrible Ubisoft are and how Ubisoft tried to censor Kotaku writers

Evidence: It's Kotaku, Ubisoft not inviting them will most likely cause the whiny pieces of smeg to try and claim that Ubisoft was trying to censor them (when in reality they can still write it's just they're not getting the free gifts & or Food given out at some of the conferences). Kotaku will almost certainly have to try and throw their weight around like some petulant child over this in the hopes that they can pressure Ubisoft into thinking Kotaku is still Relevant to gaming.

 

 Prediction 7: Sony will reveal footage of the Timesplitters remake

 Evidence: It's being made and info seems to regularly pop up about it on the PS4 subreddit.

 

Prediction 8: Lizard Squad will DDOS at least 3 of the event livestreams

 Reasoning: They're asshole and seemingly love to fuck with gaming because they seem to have a grudge against it (I'm guessing they were hardcore Jack Thompson fans or something back in the day) So yeh no doubt they'll try their damndest to annoy people.

 Prediction 9:  There will be a streaker during a conference

Reasoning: Well it has to happen one year or another

 Prediction 10: After many years of secrecy EA will wheel out a Polybius cabinet onto the E3 stage. The back will open up and inside will be a developer. The developer will then get up and announce that he is the one who made Polybius and the entire thing was a practical joke he and the now heads of EA started in their college days.

Reasoning: Well EA have got to do something that's both amazing and weird to get people's attention. At least while they gut another few studios they've acquired recently.

 

Prediction 11: Dudebro 2: my shit is fucked up so I gotta shoot / slice you. It's Straight up Dawg Time. Will finally get a release date 

Reasoning, it's been in development for years it's gotta happen sometime.

Oh and for those who want it I've made some E3 Bingo cards if you want to play E3 Bingo with other people while watching E3 conferences.

  read


4:12 PM on 06.08.2015

How a load of Hustlers are making bank on Valves refund policy.

So this article started life after I saw a developer complaining about refunds, this would have been fine because as I'll go on to explain. Now I would be giving the developer a plug here, except the developer chose to be an arsehole to some customers and when I suggested there may be more of a reason behind the refunds I was promptly blocked.  The developer has now chosen to protect their tweets as they throw a melt down.

Such a shame really as it was someone who'd climbed out of the XBLIG slime pits, so I do generally like to support them. If they'd waited they might have found out that I was suggesting their games had become a victim of a bunch hustlers playing Steams systems for profit.

The reality of the situation is that while amazing for consumers really, Valve putting in  refund policy means people can and will exploit it. So being the kind of person who watches way too many con shows and having a fairly devious mind I've thought up a horrible scam people could do on Steam or more correctly probabaly are already doing it and I'm not the first to think it up. Now just to be clear I have NOT done any of the following things (nor should you), these are only theoretical but if I've thought of them, you can bet others have too. Oh and don't worry, I've emailed Valve about these possible scams already so if you were thinking of trying them, you'll probably be caught now.

 The problem with the refund system stems from certain indie games. These indie games meet two criteria. First they are above the price point to activate a Steam account (as to get full features there's now a minimum spend on Steam ironically to cut down on scammers). Secondly the indie games in question must have 5 - 6 trading cards needed to craft the game badge. The price point and the badge requirements combined are the requirements for this con trick to work. The reason it works is with games that have 5-6 trading cards there's normally a certain amount you don't get, thus forcing you to trade or use the marketplace. Here are two such indie games.

  

It's worth nothing neither of these games are those of any developer who has had a meltdown over steam refunds, just to be clear. Now due to gaining extra features by levelling up your steam account badges became a valuable thing, and as all badges give a base 100EXP it doesn't matter if the game has 5 cards or 25 the badge value is the same. So many people (and I'm sure many shrewd indie developers too) realise that it's far easier to collect all the cards for a game that needs less cards. Thus said games become more desirable and can fetch a higher price from those trying to quickly and easily level up their steam accounts.

 So I know what you're thinking, how does any of this lead to a con. Well this is how the con works, laid bare for you. The Hustler makes a new Steam account, they buy a game over the thresh hold  price to activate their account, they set up family share, they run the game for the 1 hour 30 minutes required to get the 3 card drops. They repeat this on other family shared accounts meaning they have up to 15 cards. They then apply for a refund, having only played just over 1 hour 30 minutes on their main account Steam issues a refund. With the other accounts activated similarly with other games they then trade the cards to a singular account and place the mass of cards on the marketplace. It seems weird, stupid and petty right I mean the Steam Trading cards have so little value normally, except those on games with only 5-6 cards total where their cards often cost double that of any other game. So in theory on 1 single refunded game a Hustler can bank about £1 in total. Not bad for absolutely nothing.

 

Now I know what people are thinking £1, really someone would go to all that trouble for £1 free, well that's the thing, previously people were going to a fair bit of trouble to for DOTA 2 items which were £0.50 and took up to 5 hours to get. Valve had to act to disabled selling and even trading DOTA 2 items acquired from drops due to people item farming like this (and also in a large part due to scammers clearing out peoples DOTA 2 items). However to protect the market from plummeting items prices Valve made it so most drops in DOTA 2 can't be sold. The thing to consider are these items farmers are still out there and with Valves new refund policy it's entirely possible they've turned their hand from item farming in DOTA 2 to card farming in indie games. What people may not realise is in some other countries  due to different economies etc. Selling items like this and setting up a way to do in on a larger scale pays out quite well in peoples native currency, well enough for this to not only be viable for them but actually very profitable. Consider this a person with a computer running say 5 games at once to card farm, now imagine someone doing this on a bigger scale with say 5 machines each running 5 games. Suddenly that's nearly £5 per one and an a half hours. It's not hard to see how this could easily be exploited.

So in a way, some indie developers might have ended up becoming their own worst nightmare as card with less card drops it means Hustlers can clean out their game of free stuff within the 2 hour period and their cards drops are more desirable as well thanks to Steams systems. So through the new refund policy and previous things indie developers have done to help drive sales. They've not only become the target of those looking for an easy Steam level boost but of those who wish to play and exploit Steams market for some easy money. You want to know the even more shocking thing ? All the developers who have spoken out against refunds or said about the harm they do have games with 5-6 trading cards, 3 drops in the game (so 1 hour 30 of game time needed) and are at a price point about the equivalent of $5 and it's these developers now talking about how they're seeing in some cases a 53% refund rate on their games.

Lets be clear here though I'm not condemning refunds, it's about time Valve did something like this, it's good of them (even if their arm was forced a bit) but in the coming days / weeks / months there will no doubt be more developers talking about high returns etc and while some people might think it's because all these games are under. So to developers out there. Reunds, they're good for consumers, and if you're thinking of putting your game on Steam, at least for the time being maybe consider making sure your game takes more than 2 hours to get all the cards drops.

  read


12:06 PM on 06.06.2015

The problem with politics.

 

"If you didn't go and watch American Sniper you hate our Veterans and shouldn't live in this country anymore."

Honestly that's just the kind of sentiment I've been seeing about (Luckily I don't live in America so yeh, I don't have to deal with people telling me to fuck off).

Hell you think I'm joking here ? Sarah Palin went on a rant about this. (It's only a couple of minutes and the video is at the right area)

It's fucking stupid, from what I hear American Sniper is quite a bland film that doesn't rock the boat or do any moral grandstanding (mainly cause apparently Clint Eastwood as a director is known for making quite bland films).

Oh and I know a few people reading this are going "Nice one stick it to the right wing nutters" no doubt. Except the left wing has it's own nutters now seemingly as I saw on a few sites people proclaiming "If you don't go and see Selma that makes you a racist". I wish this were some kind of joke but this came to a huge head at a recent holiday where the American political far left were pushing for everyone to watch Selma and the Political far right were pushing people to go see American Sniper. That's right, people were pushing others to make film choices based on politics over personal choice, anyone who refused to see them was being shamed either called an Unpatriotic person who hates Veterans and should just leave America, or you were a Racist monster supporting the white supremacist Hollywood patriarchy. I'm so glad I don't live in the US as the way everything is becoming part of a political battleground is getting stupid, the problem is this is spilling over into wider hobbies and sub cultures.

You know what doesn't help the case that the left isn't trying to undertake some huge culture war to force everyone who doesn't share their views out? Maybe writing an entry on your own site about how you're winning the culture war. For those who don't know Ms Laurie Penny you might find this an interesting introduction.

Hell if you're going to say now "OMG you only talk about her because she's female you mysogynist" I and in fact anyone else could turn round and claim the same about any negative thing said about say Margaret Thatcher or the far far more right wing Sarah Palin.

There seems to be a huge push at present to make everything political, that politics should be the be all and end all of our lives. To an extent I can see where people are coming from with the "Everything is about politics" argument here's the thing though, while you can relate everything to politics or a political connection it doesn't always have to be the main thing discussed. The everything is about politics spin has got so bad this happened on the Facebook page of someone I know.

You think this is a one off thing but I'm seeing people claim they can't watch Firefly because Adam Baldwin doesn't share their political views. I've recently seen people claim they can't fap to porn because they heard a rumour that said pornstar doesn't follow the persons exact line of politics. I'm seeing people claim they'd never be in a relationship with someone who doesn't support everything socio politically that they do, and to the lengths they do. I honestly think it must be a US thing with the two party system causing quite literally an US or Them mentality and seeing it happen is baffling to me (and quite how long till you manage another civil war at this rate can't be that far off).

To this mentality you can add the medium of video games which has for a long while strived to be seen and mature and plenty of people from what some consider "The lost generation" being told by the media they need to grow up and start taking things seriously. One of the things often seen as mature and serious is politics. Add to this some people who like to pretend they're super serious real journalists and intellectual critics yet possessing performing arts degrees and never having studied any kind of actual real journalism and you've got a problem.  In reality politics is often far from the most important thing ever and while important to know of it's also important to keep it in perspective and not make everything some great political battleground. There is more to life than politics. The people who truly benefit most from politics are politicians who get paid to do this and their job is a hell of a lot easier with you campaigning and doing some of the work for them.

I'd like you to say hi to a Mr Jon Stone a professional journalist from The Guardian whom I recently had a nice old argument with on Twitter. That's right this is not some random twitter nut this is an actual paid journalist at a major news group here in the UK. Yes he is claiming that the game Watchdogs about a hacker who ends up tangled in and fighting against a company with a big brother esc network surveillance system is a conservative game. I'm guessing he thinks this because (and this is just speculation here) he took Animal Farm and 1984 not as a dystopian fiction warning of dangers but as a really cool vision for a future he'd like to live in.

The great bit of comedy being that as politics keeps changing eventually people forget about the politics of the time to an extent and relate the art to the culture at the time and it's cultural relevance. You can see how far it's changed as it's now the "progressives" talking about the dangers and how horrible these violent games are and how bad for gaming and society etc. Very much like Mary Whitehouse did with violent films in the past.

It's quite funny watching recently as people on Tumblr passed round a thing about how the UK government were going to scrap the human rights act. Which is quite funny and shows how much many in the Social Justice Warrior community know about the UK, you see we don't have one as such. I'm not joking the UK subscribes to the EU Human rights act and the basic human rights etc are respected but not written as a constitution like in the US. The closest to a constitution we have in the UK is the Magna Carta and the rights it grants are the right to a trial by your peers and the right to own land, that's it. Funnier still all those campaigning against the UK writing its own constitution and not carrying on with Europe's probably didn't realise we have an in out referendum on the EU coming soon so without our own Human rights act we're going to have none in any way close to relevant if the UK leaves the EU.

 Forcing things to be political and always political is exclusionary in itself. To the extent it's being done you could even say it's exclusionary to anyone who doesn't share those exact views. Even more so it's exclusionary to anyone not dealing with the same political system, so a lot of the politicial discussion centres on American politics. How weird are American Politics? Well in the US Obama and the democrat policies centred on reducing the national deficit while the republican party were on about spending out of debt and not making cuts. In the UK the Labour party campaigned on policies of making no cuts and increasing spending to get the country out of debt and the Conservatives campaigned on policies of reducing spending to reduce the countries deficit. It was the conservative lead coalition government here in the UK that legalised gay marriage (after Labout had been in for 12 years). Let that sink in for a moment about how different politics are in different countries.

It was almost comical to see the discussions etc surrounding Battlefield Hardline and some journalists seemingly lamenting the fact it wasn't a harsh political statement upon the state and nature of American policing. The idea that everything must somehow be some great political statement now seems just insane, hell you could now argue Romeo and Juliet is a literal indictment of the harm done by a bi-partisan system and a "with or us against us" mentality. It's funny because people are meant to be games journalists and critics, yet so many want to talk politics and so few seemingly want to talk about other things such and other themes and concepts in narrative works. If something agrees with your politics or not is easy low hanging fruit. If some people want to be seen as grand intellectual games critics maybe it's time to you know actually move beyond the very simple stuff of talking politics and actually try to analyse a work without the political lens. Maybe it's time for said critics to understand that just because it doesn't agree with your politics it doesn't make the media itself inherently bad.

 So do you want to talk politics some more? If you answered yes, have I got some fun blogs coming for you.

Well people say it's good to go out on a song, so you know what have a song that went viral here in the UK 

 

  read


1:28 AM on 06.05.2015

Is the future of VR gaming in your pocket right now ?

So VR eh, the biggest latest gimmick to come to video games hot on the heels of the near death of motion controlled games. With the Oculus Rift expected to cost $150 - $200 allegedly and having already noted my experience with an early build I've got to say I'm dubious. Then there is Steam VR which it's been suggested might require a full room dedicated to it to really use it well.

 So I thought it was the perfect time to look at VR technology again and as well as talk about my latest experience with VR I get to talk about some VR tech I tried but never did mention a few years ago.

So first I'd like to introduce you to the Igloo.    

 

So the Igloo is a large dome structure, inside it contains multiple projectors, tower units and technology to track the position of the player and direction they're facing (this is done at least in the demo version by tracking a physical item in this case a gun which is also the controller. So here's a really terrible video filmed on a 3Mega pixel camera in near pitch black. You might notice the shadowy figure standing up moving round an they're actually controlling the game using a gun shaped controller with motion tracking. I was recording this video basically on the floor at the back of the dome trying to hide out of the way.

 

Now the Igloo is a rather expensive setup but rather impressive. I did talk to the developers (a number of years ago now) and they stated their main goal as such in terms of the technology being public was to try and get the thing in arcades as a sort of premium attraction. Obviously this is not going to be household technology (then again if Vale's VR needs a full room maybe this could be possible). From what I saw it looked good with the idea of moving in the dome changing where the image was projected.

 Now I've previously talked about my experience with an early version of the Oculus Rift. Suffice to say I didn't get on well.

This year however I got to try another kind of VR device and one which honestly has wowed me because of how well it worked and the distinct lack of motion sickness that came from it. Unlike all other devices so far this uses technology most people already posses and the cost of the unit to utilise this (in the case of the one I tried) was £20 (About $35) you can get other cheaper or more expensive versions but all do roughly the same.

All of them are a holder for a smartphone with the cheapest known one being the Google Cardboard clocking in at the cost of cardboard and printing the templates out pretty much (no really you can download the instructions etc from google). I was rather impressed with the VR experience and the headset as I said in my full piece on it on my other blog.

So you might be wondering how any of this relates to the blog title as I've rambled on quite a bit (which if this were Polygon and the Rockband 4 preview is seemingly the qualities a senior editor would have but this is not Polygon so I need to get to the point). The point being large and expensive pieces of tech tend to be very much a gimmick that often dies out, I mean just look at the death of the Kinect despite for over a year everyone with an Xbox One having one included. So it seems very likely that VR / 3D could be a fad that dies out fast, and it seems unlikely that we'll all be playing "The World" anytime soon. That is unless you consider a number of things that have been happening in gaming recently.

A number of companies have been working on streaming technology or mobile integration. Sony's PS4 can stream to other TVs via the playstation TV / Vita (or via the streaming app to smartphones and other devices). Microsoft were very big on pushing Smartglass and mobile phone integration. Nintendo made it so you can use the Wii U gamepad as the main screen for some games instead of needing the TV. Nintendo has also fairly recently announced their partnership with a mobile phone game maker DeNA as well. All of this so far screams to me that companies are to an extent hedging their bets and testing out a number of systems a piece of technology which could have more applications down the line.

Just think about it for a moment while not quite as responsive as the Oculus (input lag etc) it would be entirely possible to stream the gameplay footage to a smartphone or such device. A smartphone or such device which most people own, even someone like me who admittedly hates carrying a mobile phone. With the wide availability of smart devices and a companies already offering film streaming to phones, why not have game streaming to use them as 3D / VR headset screens? It makes a lot of sense when the cost of a decent headset to hold a device is about $30 compared to the $150 - $200 it's suggested many of the VR headsets in development may end up costing when released. It would be kind of insane for companies to not be considering this considering the investment and cost of motion controlled gaming which promptly vanished after the boom of the Wii was done. Also using a smartphone has one huge advantage so far over all other proposed VR devices (Except I believe Valve's own) a lack of wires needing to be attached.

So rather than the Oculus Rift, the Morepheous or Valve's VR Lighthouse system HTC Steam VR thing, I'd say the future of VR gaming might well have the very phone in our pocket playing a big part in it.

  read


10:15 AM on 06.03.2015

The Junk Folder 1

So I'm taking a break from doing highly political stuff for at least one or two blogs (Don't worry I know how you all love to talk politics so I don't intend to disappoint you and leave you all out in the cold and I'm sure I'll throw a few digs in about politics.). But for a change I wanted to talk about something vaguely video games related, now I'm in the process of finishing off a nice piece about VR technology but it's not ready quite yet and I wanted to put something out here.

So as I scrabbled round I ended up in my junk folder which contains all kids of bits which I've gathered over time and none of them really are substantial eough for their own entry, so basically enjoy this large ammount of silly pictures I've collected.

First up, coming from reddit was a series of Images called 50 Shades of Fox which references the tendancies of the Smash Bros Competitive scene, enjoy.

So Next up is a couple of images taken from the PS4 Subreddit or more correctly pictures of the PS4 subreddit and the rather comical adverts thaat appeared. I highly suspect one if not both of them were somehow the doing of the PC Masterrace subreddit.

Yes PS4 Gamers grab your keyboards and Mice to join in the E-sports gift exhange ;)

Don't worry Sony aren't quite done, this time bringing the pure insane bonkers things themselves in the form of their merchandise.

Ever wanted to own some Last of Us Marchandise? Ever Wanted to have Lat of Us Cuddly toys? Well it seems Sony thinks you migh and has you covered, at least partically as you can buy an official Last of Us Cuddly toy brick. Yes really Meet Brock the Brick a cuddly toy brick.

The thing is while this might appear like some kind of silly joke I'v cooked it, it's actually really for sale by Sony right on their site.

Next up a little one I spotted which emphasises the importance of indie developers spell checking their Steam Store page before letting it go live. As shwn very nicely with the Tree of Life game offering players survival items including bondage........ yes it's really written on their store page.

Finally with The Dota 2 5th annual international championship starting soon (Qualifiers have just recently finished) and with Kotaku's recent cries of sexism in Mass Effect and Bllodborne over the character select screen, it seems inevitable that soon a "progressive" journalist will pick up this image and wirte a nice piece about how people shouldn't support DOTA2 because of the oversexualisation of character. 

Credit or the image goes to the Dota 2 subreddit. 

Thank you for reading this load of silly rubbish, none of which was enough for an article in it's own right but maybe as a random pile of junk someone-one found some enjoyment out of it.

  read


3:26 PM on 05.30.2015

Fifa 16 will feature female International Teams. Or how EA will play the press

Oh great I'm the English guy so I get to be the one to try and have this discussion and basically mock EA for their insane stupidity again. I know I know "Ohh  but diversity". This is where the comedic problem comes in and honestly I will happily laugh at any website that is going to be singing EA's praises over this.

Here's a challenge to anyone about to sing the praises. Name a female Footballer without googling it. 

People will be singing the praises over it because diversity and female international teams and players getting recognition. You know the great comedic irony of all this? Fifa 16 is quite literally giving the message that the only way people will care for women's football (Soccer for you Americans) is if it's pushed in there with men's football.

Now I don't play Fifa games but I know plenty of people who do and lived with one for nearly a year. At no point have I ever heard any Fifa fan go "this game is nice but I wish it had female representation".

Is it nice to see womens football represented? Yes.

Is it incredibly shitty that chances are for the likeness and licensing stuff  EA will be paying the female teams far less? Yes, however while unfortunate and shitty that's the nature of women's football (at least here in the UK).

For various reasons I happen to know  small amount about the politics of the women's football league and how it impacts the FA (Football Association) here in the UK. Many female footballers aren't paid anywhere near the level of the male professionals and as such many also have part or even full time jobs as well, I have absolutely massive respect for them (Which is saying something as I find all Football to be absolute unwatchable crap). I have even more respect for them because a few years ago thanks to pressure from well let's just say social justice warriors the FA proposed a new idea. Every male club would have to pay 25% of the their advertising revenue to the FA as a sort of diversity tax, this would then be given to support women's teams. The FA womens division after consulting with many clubs rejected this. Their reasoning was that just as men's team football had risen up and become a huge thing they wanted to prove that women's football could do the same. They didn't want hand outs etc they wanted to be treated equally to men's football and that means clubs running on what advertising deals they can make and any TV broadcast deals they can sign. It's an industry funded by investors and fans and without those huge levels then the sport isn't reaching the same levels it's literally funded on how popular it is.

For whatever reason women's football isn't as popular as men's. A number of possible reasons exist for this mainly: it's new and as such just like men's football was many years ago it needs to build up it's standing and reputation and in the future may be (hopefully) on equal footing to men's football in terms of pay and money (even if I think football is insane considering the pay vs many other things); the second being that because men's football exists already and is huge they're having to compete against it, hence lower money for advertising deals and virtually no TV deals going for match broadcasts; the final possible reason is weirdly enough social justice rhetoric backfiring as people won't go to matches / watch it because they don't want to be shamed for objectification. What 22 very physically fit women running round in shorts is kind of something..... what it's not like some women's interest in football doesn't span from 22 men in shorts running round. There's a reason this was a thing.

 

 

What EA have done is send the message that the only way Women's football can be recognised is by tacking it on alongside mens football. To almost try and piggy back off its success. If EA really cared about Women's football it would let it stand as its own entity not try to package it with men's football. EA have inserted female teams into what for a long while has long only focussed on the male sport because they know , they absolutely know some people won't look at this as a cynical move to gain "Diversity points" and free press by some who will claim this as a great sign of progress. So lets look at what people will be celebrating in brief:

  • EA giving Women's clubs significantly less money for their likeness and brand (because Women's clubs not being as well known can't command the high fee's etc the male clubs will). Yes you watch the gaming press celebrate Fifa 16 without realising they're most likely celebrating women actually being paid less for the same thing (and no not one of these grand scale average wage things which includes the wages of Donald Trump and Bill Gates, actually the same job).
  •  EA making Women's football only relevant by tacking it onto the Men's leagues which lets face it are the reason Fifa is the juggernaut franchise it is today.

 

So before you get out the flags and celebrate EA I'd say maybe wait and at best nod that it's a start. But in truth until EA are willing to risk making a game just with Women's teams and not having to rely on the mens league to drive the majority of sales I say this.

"EA doesn't care about women's football, not really, it's taken the minimum possible risk and is hoping (cynically) that many of the media will reward it with lots of free press 'because diversity'. So to EA I say prove me wrong, seriously prove me wrong and make two versions of FIFA 17, Mens  League and Women's League and actually show each the same attention, because I can almost guarantee Fifa 16 will still just have two dudes on the cover."

 Here's my prediction (as I love doing these) of what some in the press will do.

  1. We'll see huge celebrations in parts of the press about this claiming it's a huge landmark achievement.
  2. The game will sell well because it's FIFA and it will sell well anyway.
  3. The same press initially celebrating it will claim the sales figures are proof that diversity works and is important, despite the sales figures continuing the sales Trend of the FIFA series anyway.
  4.  EA will happily laugh at all the free press it got and next year it will just have women's teams in again and not try to actually give Women's Football it's own shot without having in coupled to Men's Football .

 So to finish off I'll say this, I may not be able to name a single female football player either but if someone tells me they are a professional footballer and are female I have a lot of respect for that because honestly it is more effort at present for far less pay. It might also be worth pointing out my football knowledge means I can maybe manage a handful of male players at best only maybe two of which still play.

In short, celebrate EA when they take a risk to help promote womens football. Don't celebrate EA for this very low risk very cynical play because honestly if you do, EA have played you very well. You want to celebrate women's football gaming press? Start asking where the hell Bend It Like Beckham the video game is? Cause that film was damn good.

  read


10:30 PM on 05.28.2015

Are you sure Mad Max Fury Road is a Feminist film ?

So obligatory spoiler warning if you haven't seen Mad Max Fury Road yet

but hey I've recently seen the film and I wanted to talk about more aspects of it especially surrounding the present 'controversy' surrounding it.

If you're here to find out if you should go and see it I'll give you the easy version. If you've seen and liked the previous films you'll like this one. If you like films like The Expendables or the Fast and Furious films chances are you'll love it. If you're someone who doesn't like said kind of films and want to know if you should see it to support a socio-political ideology you might be quite badly let down.

Firstly the claims that it's a feminist film and how this has exploded into claims that there's a full blown MRA boycott going on because of it. So let's start at the start and work from there. The 'MRA boycott' actually comes from a single blog post, this one infact if you want to read it.

Now as certain more extreme branches of feminism have labelled MRA as a bad thing. Because you know the fact Male Rights Activists have to exist to campaign against Male domestic abuse and campaign for more shelters etc for male domestic abuse victims (according to studies [1] [2] this is 40% of all physical and 60% of all mental abuse victims, and about 50% in total) it shows feminism up as maybe not working entirely for that equality so many claim it to be. Hey that's not me saying all MRA guys are exactly nice people but then against certain feminist love to say how they want to #killallmen and MRA's kind of seemingly haven't got something as dumb as that going on quite yet. Not to say MRA's havent done equally dumb stuff I'm sure.

Either way feminists (or at least many prominent ones) have seen MRA's as a threat to feminism as showing that maybe feminism has developed a few flaws along the way in a number of the branches is unacceptable. Such questions are merely sea lions. So any chance to take a shot at MRA's has become a thing, the idea of literally sticking it to....... Mens rights in this case lol.

Look I'm no MRA but I can see there are problems not being dealt with for both genders and western feminism seems more concerned with fictional characters than real horrific acts being done to real women in other parts of the world or other cultures. But hey for Social Justice Warriors trying to save someone from harm due to a different cultural practice is racist colonialism and we white people should keep out and let the girl live a life of suffering rather than you know maybe help somehow.

Ok back to the film. Well the claim Mad Max is feminist comes from a number of factors.

First (and weirdly) foremost it having a strong female character. Most of it comes from a single point in the film where having missed twice with a sniper rifle (firing into fog and an object no-one can actually see fully) Max fires twice and misses then the female lead Furiosa uses Max's shoulder and a tripod and with the last bullet fires and hits it. It's quite a compelling set of scenes, undermined a little bit when Max then walks off into the fog and (off screen) kills three heavily armed bad guys and steals their weapons less than 5 minute later.

The second main aspect being the claims of representation, with Furiosa being from what some have described as an Amazonian styled Matriarchal society which is trying to fix the world. This is all well and good until you start toying with the plot threads and seeing where they go. You see the 20 something year old woman suggests that in this matriarchal society there were men around at least 20 years ago. At no point do they ever say they have always been only women. The only indication towards this is them being suspicious of the male characters initially, which considering the brutality of the world of Mad Max and that most raiding parties are largely male, it's not surprising. Also at one point one of the elderly women talks about how she learned to headshot men (who make up the majority of those in the wasteland raiding parties anyway). The idea being these elderly women are meant to act as a counterpoint for the audience to the three main villains and their symbolic representations of typically patriarchal things . The three main villains being: Immoten "Warfather" Joe, implied to be an ex military general at least partly responsible for the nuclear war that turned the planet into a wasteland; The Mayor of fuel town, whom is shown as a vastly overweight man who cares greatly about costs, he's dressed in a stereotypical bankers outfit with the minor change to his suit by having holes around his nipples to which nipple clamps e attached and the head of bulletfarm whom best resembles a regular foot soldier / gun nut. This claim about the representation being how the supposed matriarchal society wins out is, well it's kind of comedic considering all the women from the other society are killed off in the next battle. Yes even the 20 something year old one, all the old women end up dead one way or another leaving only Furiosa and warfather Joe's "Brides".

 Next is the argument that it must be feminist because it shows a strong woman helping other women out of sexual slavery. Which it does and when that was done in Watchdogs with a male protagonist it was called sexist. Oh and it should also be pointed out it's only the beautiful ones that get rescued and they make up maybe 1/4 of the full harem with others being well let's just say older and less in keeping with conventional images of attractive women.

 You know what, I'll make a better argument for it being a feminist film or having feminist symbolism in it. This is how easy it is to make that claim. At one point Max washes off blood using mothers milk, and no that's not a euphemism. Oh and at the close of the film it's the other brides in the harem which open up the pipes and give the civilians below water. See that's more of an case for it.

 It's quite funny really as this is probably the first time ever  I've agreed with Anita Sarkeesian in claiming the film isn't Feminist, obviously for very different sets of reasoning though. My argument being that Mad Max depicts a meritocratic vision of the future where people use their skills and abilities to gain standing the film literally says that in the future humanity is reduced to one instinct survive. It's pure Darwinism and survival of the best adapted and skilled to survive. Claiming it's a feminist film for having a single strong character is like claiming the Lara Croft films are feminist masterpieces.

For the most part the brides end up being little more than human shields most of the time. It's rare they fight and for the most part they reflect innocence. Innocence not used to the harshness of the wasteland outside of their comfy chambers (relative to the rest of the world). The brides for the most part don't do much or participate much in the film beyond some subplots. For example Capable is the kind one who may or may not have fallen for one of the warboy raiders (whom has his own far larger arc); Angharad the heavily pregnant one who uses herself as a human shield a few times before ending up under the wheels of a monster truck (no really); Dag the cynical one who learns there may be hope and something to carry on for; Cheedo, whose main thing is her wanting to go back in the hopes Warfather Joe wouldn't punish them and because the wateland is a nasty place compared to the relative luxury of the harem (except you know being a sex slave and all that) and finally  Toast who honestly was just there and seemingly had nothing really to do beyond be there. The wives have very little actual part or character development beyond a tiny bit with Dag, which is all of 3 short scenes.

I would try and explain Anita's argument but most of it is kind of bonkers from what I gather involving the idea that violence is inherently male and women are never violent except as a result of the patriarchal influence on society causing repressed misogyny in women........ or something mad to that effect. 

You know the best part of all this? It's genius marketing, there are a load of women talking about and celebrating Mad Max which in all honestly would have been called a guy/ dudebro film any other time. It's a film filled with everything stereotypically "guy film" material. You have: guns, big vehicles, monster trucks, large semi Trucks, Suped up cars, lots of violence and hand to hand fights, lots of explosions, a huge lot of car chases and a few bits of semi naked women and a good long scene with an actually naked 20 something women. I'm not even kidding, one of the scenes you could have told me was from the film "The Bikini Carwash Company" and I'd have believed you.

The even bigger bit of comedy being that rather than support Josh Whedon and his film Avengers Age of Ultron a film by someone who claims to strongly support feminism such that he still defended it, while leaving twitter as feminist sent death threats to him because they didn't like that he showed a female character as vulnerable in the new Avengers film. No instead they're supporting the hugely violent film that somehow picked up a feminist label along the way and the studio (smartly) chose not to try and dispel it, because hey you've just widened the films potential audience hugely by letting this, well this myth stay alive.

It's almost an amazing trick that a load of people will go and see this film they'd normally hate simply because some people said it aligns with their socio-political beliefs and as such they must see it to support it.

Oh and I know someone in the comments is likely to say "Oh you only went to see it to write about how it's not feminist" so to you I say, no. I went to see the film because I like the Mad Max franchise and have the box set.

 I'm well over 1,500 words already so if you want me to talk about how Mad Max Fury Road stacks up compared to the rest of the films that's another thing for another blog. If you liked the previous Mad Max films it's worth seeing, if you're into films with lots of explosions , cars and gunfights chances are you'll like it, if not then go see something you want to not something you feel compelled to support. Nor really should people be celebrating a film based on personal politics, because if Mad Max were truly a Feminist film technically (as with all films deliberately presenting a strong overt political stance) it would be a propaganda film. That's not to say films or media should be A political but I'd rather not see entertainment media descend into being another socio-political battleground. Especially when we saw the starts of it with people condemning others for going to see American Sniper and not Selma (I saw neither because neither interested me hugely).

  read


7:47 PM on 05.26.2015

Media Literacy 101; Hey idiot, they're the bad guys

 Warning

this Article contains spoilers for Mad Max Fury Road and Watchdogs

It also contains adult themes and nudity

I've been a bit quiet here on Dtoid for  week or so, this article now is kind of the reason. I wanted to finish this one before doing anything else.

 

So I wanted to do this piece for a while and it's taken various forms. At one point I thought about doing it as a video piece as this one is going to be image heavy. However I've decided to do this as written piece and see how it holds up and maybe consider doing a video version later if needed.

 

So Kotaku found leaked footage for the upcoming film suicide squad (which has since been pulled from youtube anyway) but add to this a huge uproar at Game of Thrones and you might realise this is going to be one of those things I write which may well be controversial, and does relate back to Anita Sarkeesian.

 

So what am I talking about, well I'm talking about how the bad guy is defined and why context is very important to media literacy. So let's start shall we? The bad guy does bad things. Seems simple enough to understand, the villain of the piece does things that we as a player are meant to find shocking or bad. These actions establish them as the villain because would you look at that they're doing villainous things they're doing things society has taught us are bad. So for example when the villain in Red Dead Redepemption kicks a woman on the ground we're meant to hate him for this. It gives the player a clear reason for the resentment and a reason to want to take the villain down to protect the oppressed. The same can be said of the (now) infamous Watchdogs sex slave auction sequence . Which I played through and holy Cthulhu did Anita fail at realising the context, from the porn filming areas before hand to the security camera feed with a girl sitting draped in sheets sobbing. Hell the mission before that sees you impersonating one of the bidders and being given a girl and a load of Whips, chains and handcuffs, the girl then tries to attack you claiming she knows who you are and what you do to girls (believing him to still be the bidder). Have a look at the three short videos I've taken from that section of the game 

 

Oh and those videos aren't the entirity of the section I missed the girl crying on the CCTV camera in the record.

 

In the Watchdogs sex Slave auction section, the villain has set up an auction of girls trafficked into the country to be sold as sex slaves. This as I'm sure everyone reading this can easily point out is a bad thing. So why am I talking about it? Well Anita threw up her arms (metaphorically) and in the video Tropes vs Women in Video gaming: Women as Background objects. Anita points out this is bad, however  it seems her reason for it being bad is far different to what you'd expect. Anita's claim was that it's bad that this was included in the game. That it's bad that it's somehow meant to "titillate" the player and this content shouldn't be included in games. So this is why I' doing this (and maybe more such articles) to ask if this is a failure of media literacy as what we have is a bad guy being shown doing bad things and Anita thinks it's somehow bad to have the bad guy do bad things. It seems bonkers as clearly you want the bad guy to show they are bad rather than simply being told they're the bad guy and asked to "Listen and Believe", which someone could easily turn into the basis of a story in the future if Wanted hadn't already done it to an extent. 

It's weirdly telling about things that in Mad Max Fury Road the same basic ideas of Watchdogs freeing sex slaves are merely gender flipped are being held up (admittedly not by Anita) as a Feminist film. You have a strong female character helping to free a number of other women who were being held as "breeders" essentially sex slaves for the mad villain "War Father Joe".

The Villains  motives simply seem to be to produce a son and or family to carry on from him that didn't suffer from genetic deformities  and illnesses that all his present children have. The part where you realise it's messed up is when you realise he essentially has a harem of women being kept as sex slaves to try and achieve this end. Is it a Feminist film ? Well not really unless you're taking the most loose possible definition of claiming a film with a strong female characters is feminist. Generally most people tend to call such films you know, well written. It seems far less about the content and far more about symbolism and claiming "This film must appeal to my socio-political stances" even if to make such claims requires some impressive mental gymnastics. No seriously I'm writing this bit having just  got back from watching Mad Max Fury Road and well it's a film where a monster truck runs over a pregnant woman. It's a film where a woman is left naked on top of an electricity pylon as a trap. It's a film where old women get shot, killed and savagely beaten. Mad Max is a brutal film, like you'd expect from a series that shows a brutal post apocalyptic world. It's not feminist it's meritocratic where the characters survive thanks to their skills and use of their natural attributes and abilities.

Without adversity there can be no triumph. Without weakness then moments of strength do not stand out.

Just think back to a well hated villain. For example as Game of Thrones has come under fire let's take Joffery as an example . Throughout Game of Thrones he beats and kills innocent prostitutes sent to him, he at one point nearly forces a man to drink himself to death; He makes implicit rape threats against Sansa as well as having his lackeys hit Sansa or harm her at least twice. Joffery is a monster, how do we know he's a monster? Well his actions. People say actions speak louder than words and in such visual media it's entirely true. The idea of the bad guy doing bad things is an easy signifier to the audience that they are the bad guys. The alternative would almost be the Villain giving a long monologue about how evil he is and how he wants to torture baby pandas.  Somehow I'd like to think the public is smart enough to understand who the bad guy is without requiring the media to have them almost turn to the camera and the villain announce it. There's seemingly this idea that showing anything negative is a bad thing, well I have to argue that such an idea is stupid even if you wish to claim it could "Trigger people" and as I said in a previous piece The Trigger Man of Utopia, the idea of media not reflecting society but an idealised utopian vision for one or other sets of political ideal is extremely stupid. I'd hope that people are smart enough to realise that the ones doing the bad things in a piece of media, they're the bad guys 99.99% of the time. Without the bad guy being allowed to you know do bad things it would require some kind of blatant villain monologue to the camera as though lecturing the audience (very Brechtian but I don't think as entertaining somehow ).

 It's always been the job of the fictional hero to fight for the weak and oppressed. It's almost ironic the weak and oppressed people are fighting for now aren't the real people but for fictional characters to not have bad things happen to them. Somehow people have such empathy for fictional characters they they've turned the creator and artist into a villain for writing these stories. It's a great bit of comedy almost because as much as people hate to admit it, media reflects aspects of our own world and sex trafficking, it's part of it. It's comedic to see people argue against having such serious issues presented in media and or claims it somehow trivialises it to make it into mere entertainment. One big problem with Taboo subjects has and always will be talking about them and like it or not media "trivialising things" helps raise awareness and gets people talking about these things. You can't and shouldn't think you can lecture everyone in the world and they'll all step in line and praise you for your insight (especially if it's insanely missing the point).

So why the hell write all this? Well while I trust people to have basic media literacy it seems like some recent "critics" being held up by some as infallible beacons to look to for some imaginary brighter future are serviously lacking in the media literacy department such that even a Smuck like me can show them up this badly. 

  read


12:41 PM on 05.17.2015

I'm fed up of Politics, can we talk about games........... oh.............

Ok we've had the UK general Election recently (for those of you in the US who may not be aware) We've had months of politics on TV. We've had a majority government formed.

Then we had people go out onto the street and desecrate war memorials because the party they wanted didn't win.

 

I see politics as something important and I'm aware that engaging in it is to an extent an important thing to do, at least to keep somewhat up to date (Even if most of my engagement is half watching the news and watching Have I Got News For You). What I'm seeing recently is everything becoming a political battleground. As it seems if you have nothing but politics when your politics fails you do some very stupid things. 

The idea that everything is political and thus we should talk about politics in everything and forcibly start the debate is dumb. It's not some great show of how we're all mature adults now. It's the reason in the past I wrote the Subjective Brutal Legend Review; it's why I wrote my bit about how I Am Bread isn't inclusionary enough; it's why I wrote my parody piece on Minecraft .

 With the insanely huge war seemingly going on over Mad Max (yes really there's ideological wars going on over Mad Max) I thought I'd take this opportunity to point out how fucking stupid this is getting how will I do this you might ask ? Well I'm going to give a list of media or series that have content people could object to if you're the kind of person whose entire life must include you following only pieces of media which do and have always fit your personal politics.

Mad Max - A series which the first film shows the aftermath of an brutal assault and rape of a woman. No I'm not joking, Mad Max 1 is a film few people seem to talk of much but go back and watch and you see a Motorbike gang attack a couple, killing the guy and the girl, well she's left by the roadside extremely traumatised. 

Thor - Racism, no really in one of the Thor comic books Thor throws a radioactive villain at China and the Villain then explodes in a mushroom cloud.

Superman - Oh you though DC were all nice? How about their slap a Japanese person campaign

 

 The Hobbit (films) - Animal cruelty. Did you know during the Hobbit films 27 of the animals you see at various points died during filming ? Well they did and not due to natural causes. Causes included a mix of neglect, exhaustion and dehydration. Well done enjoy supporting a film that failed to look after it's animals.

 The Passion of the Christ - Anti Semitism

Jeepers Creepers - The Director is a convicted sex offender

 

It seems any media property which displays anything is now being claimed by people as "one of ours". You think I'm joking I recently found this on a very social justice centric subreddit.

 

 Yes suddenly anything that in any way relates to any of their politics must mean the author unwaveringly supports all the insane ideas tht SJW warriors put forward. Oh and this is including a number of them who want JK Rowling to re-write Harry Potter to include more diversity such and Hogwarts students with severe disabilites because trying to pressure an author to re-write your world view is apparently now fine because "Diversity".

Oh and I can hear it now.

"But this is cultural criticism, how dare you try to supress criticism"

and I'm not trying to, I'm pointing out criticising the political message in a piece of media is low hanging fruit that even a Neanderthal like me can do (see previously linked blogs) . If you want to play yourself off as a high art critic then picking off low hanging fruit is not the way to do it. Hell some would say criticising a piece of art for not having the political message you wanted is downright  entitled , exclusionary and close minded. It's almost the most bonkers thing as though people are so uncertain of their politics they require all media to constantly reassure them about it. Or reassure themselves they are somehow not the monster they often choose the paint other people as for "microaggressions" (Which has now been expanded to include: asking questions people don't want to answer, teachers correcting students spelling and being white and sitting in a room). Infact in his near 50 page essay on the subject Oscar Wilde notes that the idea of criticising a piece of work for not agreeing with your own politics is a poor critic who cannot appreciate art or other peoples points of view. Oscar Wilde points out that criticism should be about execution and portrayal or themes an ideas not if you think said themes and ideas are particularly good ones. I mean for fucks sakes here in the UK on a new (as of now most likely dead) attempt to bring video games back to TV audiences one reviewer on the show was lamenting how Battlefield Hardline wasn't a politically charged takedown of the over militarisation of US police. I mean seriously what the hell. When I'm seeing that on TV I have to stop and ask if it's a game you want or a deliberate piece of political propaganda to make yourself feel good while you sniff your own farts.

I want to share an old Churchill quote with you

 

 What do I mean? Well the idea of the great fight for the purest of equality now says parents being good parents and reading to their children is unfair because other parents (you know the ones who don't give a shit) won't and thus one child may be at an unfair advantage. To this I was "Welcome to the world we live in where people do compete for jobs and positions, we don't live in a grand socialist utopia because all people are different. So expecting everyone to simply behave like the lowest common denominator to make things equal is inherently denying peoples hard work and effort." So no it's not equality to attack Notch and then try to get money out of him, it's damn near emotional blackmail.

 

It seems to some that my existence (and that of many other people) is seen as a crime I should be judged guilty of and as such rely on using that guilt to leverage agreement or even money from me and others who they claim are "privilaged". Is that not just a bit undermining to you know principals of having your work seen as good on its own merit and not trying to get support via guilt. Oh but that would require skill and work and you know, whose got the time or patience to do that when you can cry oppression at any criticism and try to guilt people into supporting you or else you'll try to tar them as a horrible monster. It seems social justice is as far from liberal as you can get as no longer are people free to spend their money as they like. They're being pressured to spend it on certain things with the idea of a terrible "Or Else" hanging over their heads.

At some point people have to learn that the entirity of adult life isn't merely talking about politics and talking politics doesn't make you a mature adult. Stepping back from the politics about being able to laugh is an important thing (that's laugh not merely jeer and mock those who don't agree and claim it's all fair cause comedy, then whine if someone does it to you). Then again I am from a country who had this on TV the night before the election.

  read


12:26 PM on 05.11.2015

Preview: BFF or Die

Disclaimer

  • The preview footage presented is of the Alpha (0.2) build of BFF or Die
  • Footage has been captured in 30 FPS the game itself on my system ran at around 60 FPS consistently and this is in Alpha still
  • Any frame drops apparent in footage are due to recording using a different method than my computers standard internal capture system (The game is so new I couldn't use AMD graphics card capture)
  • Unlike other previews this preview does not feature footage from the show floor. I did record footage but given the opportunity to download the demo I chose to capture better quality footage.
  • Unlike other previews I spent quite a bit of time with the demo for this game just not at the show.

This is the first time I've decided to do this here on Destructoid I'm now putting in  video version of what's mostly written below. The video does have adverts enabled so it's up to you if you want to watch the video and give me nice ego stroking views, or read the rest of this article.

BFF or Die is a co-operative Puzzle adventure game by Honey Tribe Studios which tasks you with playing a group of time travellers whose ship has crashed somewhere in in the past. Each level requires you to collect all the fuel in a maze and then have to high five to finish the level.
 
As you progress you gain access to more of the ships gadgets and are required to use them to navigate the mazes.
 
Now before I carry on I think it's time for the preview footage so you can see what I'm talking about. (No adverts on this video but no commentary either just)
     

Now you may have noticed the game is designed with controller sharing in the controls which is an interesting idea and almost seems custom made to allow shows like How to with Joel and Adam Or Play Pals  to really be able to showcase the game. Oh and just to be clear no I'm not saying this is a youtuber bait game I'm saying it's a game that could be used by such shows simply due to the controls. You can play the game single player but to quote the developer recently on twitter "You need ninja skills so yes for the really hardcore gamers out there that's a challenge for you already to try and complete the demo solo (it is possible I have done it).

What makes the game is the different roles. With two players one of you will be running through the maze while the other will be working the gadgets on the ship. In the Demo the gadgets are as followers: Spotlight to see the maze; deployable decoy activated by shinning the light on an enemy and pressing action; a grabber that allows you to lift objects up and even over walls; a teleporter which lets you set up a single use teleport to move about and a jump block that is activated by the spotlight and lets you jump over walls etc. Now the teleporter and the grabber arm have second uses with the teleporter able to drop stun bombs that stun enemies for 2 seconds and the grabber arm able to destroy walls on the level. Oh course only on a few levels in the demo do you have access to everything, so while one player is running round the maze and dodging enemies the other is acting as their support trying to keep a light on them or keep enemies off them while they gather the required fuel. If you are playing single player that means trying to keep the maze runner alive while you switch positions on the ship to activate different gadgets. Obviously with more players it would be easier as you're able to have people operating individual gadgets and thus have both the light and say grabber arm in use at once. Each gadget has it's own power gauge too thus limiting it's use slightly to prevent you spamming say the decoy. On the later levels of the demo managing the power (which does regenerate over time) become a real part of the game as you desperately try to stay alive long enough to be able to distract enemies with the decoy again.

While you can probably tell the game is still clearly in alpha by the lack of actual animations on the main playable characters it seems to be progressing well. In the full 30 level demo I ran into only two minor glitches. One being around level 15 -17 where if your character was stuck on a wall as it raised up then you could float above all the walls and still collect fuel ignoring the maze. The second was on a level between 17-23 where the enemy didn't leave the doorway and thus the door shut with the enemy still behind it blocking them from entering the level.

The game really is a balancing act and a fun one at that. With the 3 types of enemies in the demo it pushes you to try and keep the different enemies from reaching you. The mummy enemies walk round following the maze path to reach whoever is in the maze, they also follow the paths to the decoy. The blobs will move towards the decoy round the maze but otherwise don't move. The final enemy type in the demo, the ghost, moves directly to whoever is in the maze ignoring the maze walls entirely. If you get caught by a enemy then your character turns white and is essentially petrified, you can however be revived if another player / character can reach you. If the person / people in the maze get caught the monsters will then come for whoever is in the ship working the gadgets.

What I will say more towards the developer is I really hope being on console is part of the plan for this game as it would seemingly sit perfectly with the idea of console couch Co-op gaming. I'll also say that for PC you really will need to put in some kind of online mode at least in the present PC gaming environment. It's not that common for people to gather round a single PC to play Co-op games at present. If the PC gaming environment will hugely change with Steam Machines is unknown and as such and uncertain risk so online co-op is at this stage almost a requirement.

For those who want to know more have a look at the developers website  where there are plenty of other video of people playing the game and footage of the developer working on the game itself so you can see it's progress. Or you can reach the developer on Twitter @HoneytribeStu. Or go download the demo  honestly it's a good hour or more of gameplay already and it's only the demo.


  read


5:22 PM on 05.08.2015

And so it starts again.

"Comic books lead to a rise in youth delinquency". So was the call of a book by psychologist Fredrick Wertham. A book called Seduction of the Innocent which contained a number of claims about the impact of comic books. None of the claims based on actual peer reviewed scientific papers. People merely saw an "expert" and due to social conditioning chose not to question it. This is the basis of almost every social engineering scam known today, it relies on people believing people are honest both about who they are and what they say. It relies on the idea that people do not have a bias and are being honest good and truthful and not questioning things. We don't live in that world. I mean it's almost pure comedy that the same people who talk about the need for critical thinking are the same group who for a while tried push this.

 So why after having talked about the comics code authority in the past and the damage done am I again here and again talking about them. Well a psychologist is about to do almost the exact same to video games. Here's an interview taken from BBC Radio 4 with Dr Zimbardo the author of upcoming book Man (Dis)connected.

  I'm almost waiting for certain companies to pick up and use to claim gaming needs to change and is harmful etc. (Looking at you Polygon). As you can hopefully hear in the interview at least this time there are other academics etc fighting and challenging the book.

You might have also noticed a similarity between the comments of another individual who objected to violent video games in the not too distant past.

 

Yes the exact same claim about changing brain activity was brought up once again by this psychologist as was done by Jack Thompson. Yes I thought it was time to give you that again just to remind people of the past. The claim brought up again and again by people is "Media affects people" well yes, it does. Media can make us feel happy, sad scared safe and run the gamete of human emotions. But here's the important piece of reasoning people forget. After a sad film are you permanently sad? Ok are you permanently in a state of terror after a scary film? Putting someone into an MRI machine having just played video games will show changes in brain activity, just like putting someone into an MRI machine having played sport would or having gone to watch Disney's Frozen. So yes media affects people, but are we really going to turn round and say media being able to illicit emotional responses is going to be the downfall of our society? I mean what kind of crazy people would see suppression of emotions and human nature as a good thing.

  

What you knew I had to do that at some point. But on a more serious note being able to differentiate between feelings and logical reasoning is an important distinction to make in term of attempting some degree o objectivity based arguments. Using logic and reasoning doesn't mean you have t suppress emotions, just don't let your emotions cloud your entire judgement. Emotions such as fear are what has allowed Humanity to survive as a species. So before every-one goes entirely moral panic mad (as many no doubt will when this book releases) I think it only Fair to close off this piece with a clip from Penn & Teller.

 

  read


  Around the web (login to improve these)




Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter?
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -